China's plans for military base in Vanuatu opposed by NZ Govt

A Chinese frigate.
A Chinese frigate. Photo credit: Wikipedia

China is reportedly looking to set up a permanent military base in Vanuatu - a move that would alarm both the New Zealand and Australia Governments.

Although the Prime Minister hasn't been formally briefed on the matter, on Tuesday morning she was quick to condemn a military presence 3000km from New Zealand.

"New Zealand is opposed to the militarisation of the Pacific," Jacinda Ardern said. She didn't have more say, as she had only seen media reports, she said.

Such a base would be China's first in the Pacific, and its second overseas base. Its only current overseas base is in Djibouti.

No formal proposal for the base has been made, but discussions between the Chinese and Vanuatu governments are taking place, the Sydney Morning Herald Reports.

A military presence would likely begin with naval ships docking - presumably at a Luganville Wharf, which China built for cruise ships but which is capable of hosting military vessels. That would build up to a permanent arrangement, the SMH reports.

China is also backing an upgrade to the Vanuatu airport.

National leader Simon Bridges said it's not necessarily wrong when other countries invest in others' infrastructure.

"But when you're talking military, and these sorts of things, you'd want to think it through pretty carefully," he said.